UNCLOS essential to protect critical infrastructure of underseas cables
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What you may not realize is that 70% of all of the country's international telecom traffic, which includes data transfer and video, is carried on these cables. If you eliminate Canada, 90% of the country's international traffic is carried on these cables. The disproportionate importance of these cables to the nation's communication infrastructure can be seen by the fact that if all of the cables were suddenly cut, using every single communications satellite in the sky, only 7% of the United States traffic could be restored. This underscores the incredible capacity of modern fiber optic submarine cables. By any standard, they constitute critical infrastructure to the United States, and indeed the world.
This critical infrastructure, by its very nature, depends upon international cooperation and law. The promise of continued advances in international communications hinges on an international standard providing a compass whereby nations and private companies may steer a course which efficiently allows international communications networks to be seamlessly planned, built, and operated.
UNCLOS provides this modern legal compass. Simply stated, without UNCLOS, US telecom companies are hurt in the planning, development, maintenance, and protection of the world's undersea cable networks. UNCLOS is the key to the world's international telecommunication system; it unlocks the door for the fullest participation and leadership possible by US telecom companies.
Currently the vital U.S. underseas cable industry has to rely on the outdated 1884 telegraph treaty for its legal basis when defending its rights to lay, maintain, and repair underseas cables. U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would better protect U.S. companies’ existing cable systems and foster additional investments by giving telecommunications the legal certainty to their claims that they need.